Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/16/1993 01:55 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE March 16, 1993 1:55 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator Steve Rieger, Vice Chairman Senator Bert Sharp Senator Georgianna Lincoln Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT All Present COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 87 "An Act extending the termination date of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission to June 30, 1994." SENATE BILL NO. 141 "An Act extending workers' compensation coverage to certain high school students in uncompensated work-study programs." SENATE BILL NO. 117 "An Act making appropriations for contract settlement costs and cost-of-living adjustments for public employees who are members of certain collective bargaining units; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 42 "An Act relating to municipal taxation of alcoholic beverages; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 154 "An Act relating to the economic development grant program; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 152 "An Act changing the frequency of certain state inspections of weights and measures and relating to the issuance of citations for weights and measures violations." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 87 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/9/93. SB 141 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/9/93. SB 117 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/9/93. SB 42 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/25/93, 3/2/93, 3/4/93, 3/9/93. SB 154 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER Senator George Jacko State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 42 and SB 154. Shelby Stastny, Director Office of Management and Budget Office of the Governor P.O. Box 110001 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0001 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 154. Paul Fuhs, Commissioner Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110800 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0800 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 154. Edgar Blatchford, Commissioner Department of Community and Regional Affairs P.O. Box 1122100 Juneau, Alaska 99811-2100 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 154. Ken Leaf, Legislative Aide %Senator Robin Taylor State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 152. Aves Thompson, Chief Weight and Measures and Weigh Stations Department of Commerce and Economic Development 12050 Industry Way Huffman Business Park Bldg. O, Suite 6 Anchorage, Alaska 99515-3512 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 152. Wendy Mulder, Legislative Liaison Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110800 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0800 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 152. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-19, SIDE A Number 001 SENATOR KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce meeting to order at 1:55 p.m. and announced SB 87 EXTEND ALASKA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION to be up for consideration. SENATOR RIEGER moved to pass SB 87 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR KELLY announced SB 141 WORKERS' COMP FOR WORK-STUDY STUDENTS to be up for consideration. SENATOR RIEGER moved to adopt the CS for SB 141. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR RIEGER moved to pass CSSB 141 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 50 SENATOR KELLY announced SB 117 APPROP: CONTRACT SETTLEMENT COSTS to be up for consideration. He said inasmuch the legislature usually appropriates money to the University in one big chunk, they have asked legal council on whether or not this supplemental is needed and if this amendment has to pass in order for this agreement to take affect. He said they would, therefore hold the bill. SENATOR KELLY announced SB 42 LOCAL SALES TAX ON ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES to be up for consideration. SENATOR JACKO, sponsor of SB 42, said it would allow municipalities of less than 2,500 residents to hold elections to decide whether they want a sales tax rate beyond the level of other sales tax items in the municipalities. This will help offset the decline in state revenues. SENATOR SALO asked how many communities were allowed to import liquor, but not sell it? SENATOR JACKO said he didn't know. SENATOR RIEGER asked why he chose to cut the population off at 2,500. SENATOR JACKO explained he would have preferred for it to apply to all communities across the state, and the figure was a matter of compromise. SENATOR PEARCE moved to pass CSSB 42 with fiscal note from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 188 SENATOR KELLY announced SB 154 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GRANT FUND to be up for consideration. SENATOR JACKO explained that essentially this legislation creates a program within the capital budget to address the needs for economic development in municipalities. It also establishes the qualifying criteria. SENATOR PEARCE said she wanted to make sure that the regional port authorities and other instrumentalities of the state or municipality would be able to own the projects and facilities. Number 285 SHELBY STASTNY, Director, OMB, said this legislation fills a need we don't have in our current capitol funding structure. MR. STASTNY said they wanted to make sure that the owner of the assets was a government entity that has been elected (for accountability). The Department of Commerce and Economic Development would also need the opportunity to evaluate the project. If the projects are determined feasible by the administration, then it would be placed in the governor's capital budget and forwarded to the legislature for further consideration, he explained. Number 260 SENATOR KELLY said the definition of a local elected community council made him nervous, because there were so many. MR. STASTNY said the elected representative for the community making the proposal was their intention. SENATOR JACKO said he had discussed the proposed amendments with Mr. Stastny earlier and didn't have any problems with them. SENATOR KELLY said he would have his staff work on a committee substitute and bring it back before the committee. Number 324 SENATOR LINCOLN said there was one extra step in the amendments where it goes through the Governor and then to the legislature and in the original bill it didn't have to go through the Governor. She wanted this extra step to be looked at closely. SENATOR SALO asked if all the amendments were adopted would the new positions still be in the Department of Commerce. MR. STASTNY answered that he had checked with the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Economic Development who said it could be administered with available staff. SENATOR SALO asked if that meant the bill would have a $0 fiscal note. MR. STASTNY said he didn't think there would be a need for funding, but wanted to check with the Department of Administration before saying so for sure. SENATOR RIEGER asked about the $2000 application fee and what the annual volume through this fund might be. Number 367 COMMISSIONER FUHS said they expected it would take extra staff to do this and included an application fee so the money would not come from the general fund. The fee was fairly arbitrary, he added. They wanted a high enough figure to make sure people were fairly serious about their proposals. He expected to get between 30 - 50 applications a year. He explained there would be a prioritized list of the economic development opportunities which would be funded depending on how much money was in the capital budget. The money has to be appropriated by the legislature in any given year. Number 384 SENATOR RIEGER asked if he was contemplating a differential in matching requirements. COMMISSIONER FUHS said the higher the match, the more points people would get on a point system. This is not structured the same as capital matching grants. SENATOR LINCOLN said she wanted it made clear that "sweat equity" could be used for the match and not just money. COMMISSIONER FUHS found no problem with that. SENATOR JACKO pointed out that this legislation is not intended to replace the Governor's capital match program or any of the other capital project programs that are in place right now. Number 420 SENATOR PEARCE asked Edgar Blatchford, Commissioner, Department of Community and Regional Affairs, what was the maximum amount of the small grants his department does? COMMISSIONER BLATCHFORD explained there were two grant/loan programs within his department, the federal program with its complicated requirements and the smaller state program. Although there is an economic twist to the application in the federal process, they are still obligated to look also at community based projects. The amount of requests exceeds by about 20 times the amount of money available (about $2 million). The small state program is for small economic enterprises in rural Alaska. SENATOR RIEGER said with an economic grant fund like this, it seemed like the legislature should be able to appropriate money to the fund allocating it for certain projects. Then the Department would be obligated to follow the allocations. SENATOR KELLY said they would work on the bill and try to get back to it on Thursday and announced SB 152 WEIGHTS & MEASURES: INSPECTIONS/CITATIONS to be up for consideration. KEN LEAF, Aide for Senator Taylor, read a statement explaining that SB 152 reestablishes the Weights and Measures officials' authority for the effective administration and enforcement of Weights and Measures regulations, to enforce registration fees and the requirements of the regulations, and to increase program receipts by insuring that all who are obliged pay. SB 152 will decrease the frequency of Weights and Measures inspections while increasing the potency. It will provide funding for new weights and measures devices used for testing registration. AVES THOMPSON, Chief of Weights & Measures, supported SB 152. He said changing this to an annual requirement will allow them to direct their efforts to those devices that need more attention and to allow those devices that need less attention to go for a longer period of time without inspection. SENATOR LINCOLN asked him how many inspections he does a year and in what kinds of areas does he do them. MR. THOMPSON replied they do approximately 16,000 device inspections per year. A third of those are probably in the fishing industry located in Western, Southeast, and Southcentral Alaska. He said there is a need for them to go into remote areas, particularly where there are heating oil meters. Number 568 SENATOR LINCOLN asked if they would save enough money by reducing the present number of inspections to go into areas they haven't been in previously? MR. THOMPSON said this bill would free up some money, although they wouldn't be able to cover the entire state on their existing budget. SENATOR LINCOLN said she would like to see a plan for Weights and Measures and how that would affect their budget overall. SENATOR KELLY asked him to explain line 15 - "(4) commits a violation identified under AS 45.75.380." MR. THOMPSON explained that is a list of offenses and penalties. TAPE 93-19, SIDE B Number 580 SENATOR KELLY asked if clients could be fined if they are out of compliance and Weights and Measure doesn't get around to checking them for a year. MR. THOMPSON replied that probably technically they could, although he certainly wouldn't encourage that type of activity. SENATOR RIEGER asked the penalty for an overweight or oversize vehicle violation. MR. THOMPSON explained the overweight penalty is 5 cents per pound and the oversize penalty is scaled and not to exceed $300. SENATOR KELLY asked how much money they have received in fines. MR. THOMPSON said he would find that out for him. He explained that he didn't want to necessarily make revenue based on fines, but rather wanted the device owner to pay the registration fee which is the major source of income for his Division. WENDY MULDER, Legislative Liaison, Department of Commerce, explained the intent of the bill was to give some authority to Weights and Measures if device owners don't register or are habitually out of compliance. They estimate generating $100,000. SENATOR PEARCE moved to pass SB 152 with fiscal note from committee with individual recommendations. Senator Lincoln objected. Senator Kelly, Senator Rieger, Senator Pearce, and Senator Salo voted yes and Senator Lincoln voted no and SB 152 was passed from committee. SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m.